Are You Addicted to Sugar?

Within the last 100 years, the consumption of sugar has gone from an average of 5 pounds per person to 150 pounds per person annually! We just might be addicted to sugar.

Perhaps that’s no surprise when you think of all the candy, sugary drinks and processed foods that contain ingredients like corn syrup, dextrose, sucrose, maltose, fructose, turbinado, sorbitol, maple syrup, molasses – the list goes on.

By the time I got into high school, I remember being addicted to breads and sugary foods – sometimes eating snack after snack upon arrival home from school. This is probably where my binge eating began – and while it was not really a problem for me in terms of weight – it did distress me in terms of quantity of food. Mostly because I never seemed to be satisfied after eating – and because I always had that feeling of things sitting in my system for longer than seemed appropriate.

Not Enough Information = Less Than Optimal Choices

At the time, I didn’t know much about healthy food – until I started visiting the health food store. I don’t recall how this happened, but I started to learn about healthy food and my family followed me there with enthusiasm. We made whole wheat pasta, brown rice pizza and other interesting concoctions – and while I’m sure it was healthier – it was not really health. I still spent a great deal of my dollars in the health food cookie and packaged food areas of the store – and not enough in the fresh produce. I didn’t understand how to combine foods properly – or how to spot the health food equivalents of sugar (brown rice syrup, malt syrup, beet juice, etc.).

I was no small-time sugar addict. I was THE sugar addict
In short, I was a sugar addict – addicted to sweet tastes, but never satisfied by them. Sugar contributed to my mood swings and my constant need for more. Since it didn’t satisfy my body’s needs for nutrients, there was no way for me to feel satisfied. And let me tell you – I was no small-time sugar addict. I was THE sugar addict, it’s hold on me I felt was permanent. So when I work with people on changing their eating habits, I completely understand the utter skepticism that life will be worth living without sugar.

Those of you familiar with my writing, know that I credit intuitive Rhonda Lenair with helping me in my initial kicking of the sugar habit. She made it possible for me to be in the house with my husband’s sugary foods and not feel them calling out to me. I could pick up formerly tempting sweets, smell them, look at them and be completely unaffected – no desire to eat them. Later, The Body Ecology Diet guidelines helped me finally kick my desire to binge, along with showing me a way to have sweet tastes in my diet without sugar. The differences in my skin, energy levels and health are really worth it – and it’s true that after awhile – you don’t even miss it at all!

What’s So Bad About Sugar?

So what’s so bad about sugar? The blood in our body is supposed to be slightly alkaline, but when we eat sugar, it has an acidic affect on the blood. The body has to work extra hard to get back into it’s alkaline balance, so it goes into mineral-hunting mode, stealing minerals from other areas of the body – including the bones. So in essence, your body is sacrificing your organs and bones to fix what you did by consuming sugar. This would be okay if we only had a little sugar and we ate enough mineral-rich foods.

However, if you read my article about organic food, you’ll remember that most of our food supply is being depleted of necessary minerals. This means that we are probably mineral deficient to begin with – so the sugar just makes it worse.

Add A Little Stress

If we add stress to the mix, things start to get worse. We all experience stress – and statistics say that it is getting to be an epidemic. If you remember from an earlier post, cortisol (the death hormone) is secreted when we are stressed. This serves to raise our blood sugar level even more – now our bodies are working even harder to find balance. At the same time, the body can only accept a certain amount of sugar at once – the rest is absorbed as fat.

Understanding Biochemical Reactions

If you understand this biochemical response that the body has when confronted with sugar, a mineral deficit – and compounded with stress – you begin to understand why childhood obesity and onset diabetes are becoming more and more common today. Often, instead of going back to the root cause of what’s happening in our body, modern medicine gives us pills to take for the rest of our lives. These pills have side effects, which further create health issues. More and more health professionals are questioning the drugging of America – and starting to go back to the root cause – how we are treating our bodies.

Researchers Look At Sugar Addiction

My husband, the newshound, sent me an an article last week about sugar from ABC News. This article highlights research done on rats showing that sugar had addictive properties, including symptoms of withdrawal. While it was a milder form of addiction than drugs, it brought up questions about the prevalence of sugar in our diets. It makes me wonder – who is benefiting from all this sugar – and why is it showing up in everything we eat? Could it be similar to why nicotine is in cigarettes, even though it could be removed? Is it just to keep us coming back for more – unable to function properly without it? Who wins in this game? Certainly, the food industry. I’m sure it wasn’t me – and I feel better off being free.

Want To Give It A Try?

Some people say it takes about 3 days to 1 week to lose your taste for sugar. It might be an interesting experiment if you want to try it for yourself. I recommend using the herb stevia or xylitol, which are both natural sweeteners. Neither cause the blood sugar spike that sugar and it’s derivatives cause.

As always, consult your health professional if you are diabetic or making changes in your diet. If you do decide to experiment with ending your own sugar addiction, use your journal to see how you feel for the first few days – and then after a week or two. You might be surprised at what you find!

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As a coach, writer and recovered former executive, I understand the challenges of creating a balanced, healthy lifestyle when over-scheduled. In my journey to radiant health, I created a whole health system of eating, exercise, renewal and recharging -- a roadmap toward health & vitality. I empower clients to create their own whole health systems, in their own unique ways. I have seen amazing results in working with my clients!